As the search for an internship in the film business continues, I’m happy to say I’ve had a couple of interviews. While I have interviewed for many other jobs in the past, it’s been a rather different experience here in Los Angeles.
This has been a big question among my circle of friends. We’re all trying to get the prime internships, and we all want to make a good first impression. How to dress is a big part of that equation. So, here are a few things recently discovered.
Never ever wear a tie. Just don’t do it. In the days I’ve been here and the interviews I’ve had, there has not been one person wearing a tie in any office. So, generally, the dress code seems business casual. I wish it were just that simple, but there’s more.
Beyond this, each office varies as to the level of casual. I have one friend that can wear jeans and t-shirts to the office, but at another company the receptionist at the front desk wore a blazer. So, there’s a range.
It seems the best choice is to be a bit more over dressed at the interview. Slacks, dresses and dress shirts are a good call. If everybody else turns up in jeans at the interview, you’ll just look extra spiffy. I hope I did.
Once I secure an internship, I’ll dress to match the level of casual at that office. So, start high and level down. It beats being under dressed.
Better yet, leave extra early. Since navigation in LA is a bit crazy and traffic unpredictable, it is always good to have extra time to travel. In addition to that, I try to arrive early. Fifteen minutes early is perfectly okay and not out of the question.
This has several positive effects. If your early, then you won’t miss your meeting or worse yet be late. Being late shows disrespect. In addition, if you’re early and they can meet you earlier, you just helped them get a little ahead of schedule. Since most places tend to fall behind schedule, this has just made you look good.
In each interview so far, questions about my opinions and taste of movies were asked. This seems likely to happen with everyone looking for internships in Hollywood. The employers want to know what you like and why you like them. They want to see how your taste will fit in with theirs.
That’s not to say your taste must match theirs exactly. However, if you love only violent thrillers and the company focuses on screwball comedies, then you might have a bit of an issue. This is one of many reasons to research a company before you apply or interview.
Knowing all this, I still wish I had been a bit more prepared for these questions. Fortunately, discussions of taste and opinion were common in grad school, so I had some practice with conversations in this area.
Hopefully things will go well, and I’ll be able to lock down an internship or two in the next few days.